“Discipline” actually means “teaching.” Teaching is about setting goals for learning, planning a practical approach, and finding solutions that work. While parenting children, parents are often learning themselves. Finding the facts about what we know works with discipline is a great first step.

“Positive discipline” is non-violent and respectful of the child as a learner. It is an approach to teaching that helps children succeed, gives them information, and supports their growth.

Discipline is a way of teaching children how to:

  • solve problems;
  • think for themselves;
  • get along with others;
  • resolve conflict; and
  • do the right thing (even when you are not there).

Discipline is not doing something to children; it is working with them appropriately to their developmental level. Understanding how children think and feel is important for positive discipline.  Discipline shows children:

  • what they have done wrong;
  • gives them ownership of the problem (appropriate to their age and development);
  • gives them options for solving the problem;
  • shows them respect; and
  • leaves their dignity intact.

How do I positively discipline my child?

  • Provide warmth and structure.
  • Offer praise and affection regularly.
  • Consider what your child is thinking and how they are feeling.
  • Talk to your child, so they know what the rules and limits are.
  • Plan transitions from one activity to the next.
  • Offer limited and realistic choices that you can accept.
  • Know what behaviours to ignore.
  • Accept that they will make mistakes.
  • Be a role model.

Let your child know what you expect. Remind them regularly about rules and limits. A good limit:

  • is appropriate to your child’s age and stage of development;
  • helps your child learn self-control;
  • protects your child and others;
  • is explained using simple language; and
  • is used consistently, respectfully, and kindly.

Learning how to manage common challenging behaviours can help as you teach young children using positive discipline.

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Last updated: 2022-07-07